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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthday Weekend(s)

(This is actually including the weekend before AND after my birthday)

Well... another year older and what a wonderful time I had celebrating! The weekend before my birthday, my sister and I drove up to Chicago for a few days. Her beau Nic lives up there and my very dear friend from dance school (#1 at PPC!!) resides there as well.

Stacey showed me a marvelous time filled with thrift shopping, delicious madelines, and some TLC on demand! I had so much fun seeing her again... I hope it won't be long until the next time we get together:)

Todd (Stacey's beau and my friend!) had a hard time saying goodbye to Pierre as you can see. I'm pretty sure that Stacey's cats were glad to see him go though because he kept scarfing down their cat food when we weren't looking.

Before my sister and I drove home, I got the chance to meet Nic's family at their absolutely charming and chic house! His mother made us one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten (she managed to combine about 5 of my favorite things into one meal). And to top it off, a surprise birthday cake and some extremely thoughtful gifts!

And the very exciting thing about Nic's family is that they have a little black poodle that looks just like Pierre (Pierre Noir!). His real name is Marlo and he is just the cutest and floppiest little dog.

Here are Pierre and Marlo basking in the sunlight. There was a lovely gazebo to the right also!

After a VERY rough week at work, my sister and I were ready to do more celebrating on Saturday.

We drove up to Waynesville, OH and did a whole lot of antiquing. It was such a blast and we are certainly going to return (it got quite rainy as the day went on).

For lunch we stopped at the Cobblestone Cafe. SO. CUTE. Our food was fantastic too! I can't wait to go back again.

I wasn't looking to spend much but here are the few treasures that I did find:

A lovely hat box in good condition from Columbus

A geisha ring, some clip on pearl earrings, and a little parrot brooch.

I had so much fun spending time with the ones I love and if celebrating a birthday is just an excuse to do that then I'm in!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brent's French Bread

First of all, there will be a separate post on my fun birthday weekend however, I have to brag a bit about one of my gifts:

Yes that's right, a Kitchenaid Professional stand up mixer. AMAZING. I have wanted one of these for so long... my old mixer's whisks (and yes it only had whisks) wouldn't stay in the mixer which meant they would fall into the dough/batter/whatever every time I lifted the top.

This lovely gift came a few weeks early as a HUGE surprise from Brent and his mother. What an incredibly nice gift!! Needless to say, the mixer is just fantastic and makes baking a breeze so there will be a lot of delicious goodies on the way.

Now back to the French bread: This was actually Brent's project (I think he just wanted to try out the mixer). We've always wanted to make our own bread so we finally gave it a try on Friday night.

He mixed everything together and let sit and rise.

Then he punched it a bit and rolled it out.

Then he smiled for the camera :)

He split the dough in two

And rolled out the loaf then cut in half. I got to do the other loaf... it was quite fun

Use a knife to create some slits

And Voila! French bread made from scratch. I have to say, it smelled so incredibly delicous... we didn't finish cooking until almost 1 in the morning and we both scarfed down about 1/2 a loaf when it came out!

We made four small loaves and gave 2 away but saved the rest for ourselves. We were so happy with how the bread turned out but I can certainly see how this would be one of those recipes you would want to keep perfecting.

This was such a fun project for a rainy day, what have you been doing lately to get past the rainy day blues (if you've been experiencing this downpour!)